Stories of Struggle and Success in Our Schools

We are parents, teachers, students and community members with stories to tell. We want to rise above the politics and news headlines and talk about what’s working and what needs to improve for Chicago’s kids.

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How One Cooking Teacher Opens up a World of Opportunities for Students With Disabilities

This piece was originally posted by Adeshina Emmanuel at Chalkbeat Chicago. Growing up with dyslexia, Athenia Travis had to master other ways of learning at Chicago Public Schools. Now the Golden Apple-award nominee helps many of her culinary arts pupils do the same at Southside Occupational Academy, where students with special needs prepare for life after high school “At one…

What Can NYC’s Specialized Schools Learn From Chicago? Getting Beyond SHSAT Prep.

While New Yorkers debate the merits of scrapping the long-used SHSAT as the gatekeeper for entry to the crown jewels of the city’s high schools, there’s another way to get at the root problem of too many underprepared elementary students, especially in Black and Latinx communities. It’s working in Chicago. I am well aware that transplanting a bright idea that…

Let’s End the Admissions System that Forces Families to Pray for the High School of Their Choice

Last Friday night, families all over Chicago sat glued to their computers, waiting for the first round of results of the district’s high schools admissions process. Today at school, eighth-graders all over town are comparing notes about who got in where. Some young people and families are rejoicing, others are in tears. No one likes to put so much pressure…

Meet the Four 2019 Golden Apple Winners Teaching in CPS

Photo caption:  Science teacher Greta Kringle celebrates her Golden Apple Award with students and colleagues at Solorio High. All photos courtesy Golden Apple. It’s a big week for teaching in Illinois, with the  announcements of the first-ever statewide winners of Golden Apple Awards. The awards are kept top-secret and winning teachers get a big surprise when TV news cameras, district leaders…

What Is Chelsea Clinton Doing Reading A Picture Book in the Laundromat?

Today, Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, spent time at the Bubbleland laundromat on Fullerton, not far from Kelvyn Park, reading a picture book to preschoolers and their families. Her visit comes about a year after Chicago librarians began holding story time in laundromats around the city in an effort to reach out to families with young children…

Thanks to New State Money, CPS Invests in Neighborhood STEM, IB and Arts Programs

Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced CPS will invest $32 million into STEM, IB, arts and other specialty programming for 32 schools, 22 of which are neighborhood elementary schools. Of the neighborhood elementary schools, one is located in East Garfield Park and 13 are located on the South (6) and Southwest (7) sides. The new money for these programs comes from…

How an Award-Winning Teacher Turned Principal Transformed Bennett Elementary

Today Principal Teresa Huggins takes pride in her successful turnaround of Roseland’s Bennett Elementary. Since she took the helm in 2013, Bennett has transformed from a school on probation to a school at the top of the district’s accountability ratings.  It’s one of 22 neighborhood elementary schools on the South and West sides of Chicago where students are showing high…

There’s a Great College Counseling Tool Available For Free, and CPS Isn’t Using It

Why aren’t Chicago’s high school students using a college counseling tool that can help them find proven match colleges? Because the Noble Network of Charter Schools created it. Central office is too overstretched to spread the word about it. And many Chicago Public Schools staff don’t want to use a tool that comes from a charter network they hate. But…